Ultra marathon queen Steyn wins fifth-successive Two Oceans, Khonkhobe reigns supreme for men

13 April 2024 - 10:22
Gerda Steyn crosses the finishing line for fifth-successive Two Oceans Marathon.
Image: Two Oceans Marathon Gerda Steyn crosses the finishing line for fifth-successive Two Oceans Marathon.

Gerda Steyn proved once again that she indeed is the queen of ultra marathon on the continent after she claimed her fifth-successive victory at the TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town on Saturday morning.

The 34-year-old from Bothaville in the Free State cruised to victory with a record time of 3:26:54, beating her 2023 time of 3: 29:05.

Relaxed as ever throughout the marathon, Steyn cemented her status as the country's best female ultra marathoner of all time.

Representing her running club Phantane AC regalia, Steyn surpassed South Africa's Monica Drogemoeller (1988, 1990, 1991 and 1992) and Russian twin Elena Nurggalieva's (2004, 05, 09 and 12) records to be the most decorated ultra marathoner in competition.

Coming to the race, Steyn said she expected a hard-fought battle.

In windy conditions, it was clear from the start of the race that she meant business as she sped into the lead.

At 14km defending Champion Steyn, Irvette van Zyl, and Zimbabwean Loveness Madziva all formed a tight bunch of three, all running an average of 3:35 a kilometre.

At 28km, it became a two-horse race between Steyn and Van Zyl as they climbed small Chappie's neck on neck.

The race between the two titans, a classic rematch of two years ago, there was little separating the two as they descended Chapman's Peak.

At the marathon mark (42.2km), Steyn showed her supremacy and pulled ahead of van Zyl.

Nicknamed the “Smiling Assassin”, she looked unbeatable climbing Constantia Nek and the writing was on the wall for Van Zyl at the 50km mark.

As Steyn passed the finish line, she received a kiss on the cheek from her husband Duncan and cheers from the UCT upper campus sports ground mound.

Van Zyl finished second with a time of 03:29:30 while Madziva clocked 3:38:00 at the end.

In the men’s race, Klerksdorp's Onalenna Khonkhobe became the first South African since 2019 to win the race.

“I’m announcing my arrival; tomorrow you will acknowledge me.” Those were the words of Khonkhobe before the marathon.

He did exactly that with as triumphed in a time of 3:09:30 for top podium finish.

It was his second Two Oceans after making his debut last year, finishing in sixth place.

His Nedbank AC teammate, Lloyd Bosman finished second in 3:09:58 while defending champion Givemore Mudzinganyama could not repeat his 2023 feat, as he took third position in 3:11:13.